The annual Senior Championship for Wales at Brymbo Sports and Social Club.
The event was hosted by 2018 Welsh President, Brenda Jones who was delighted to welcome everyone to this exceptional venue. A warm welcome was extended to the 2018 BCGBA President, Keith Andrews, who has many friends in Wales, and to Allan Jones and his wife Sue, from Bowls Wales – a co ordinating body for bowls across Wales. Their mission, to promote bowls as a life long sport for all and to raise awareness of all bowling codes. They had travelled from South Wales to experience for themselves a major Crown Green event. Deputy Welsh President, Dave Mathias was also there for the day. Referees included DT Evans, Arthur Peake, Peter Hughes and Derek Evans.The line up for the competition contained an excellent cross section of bowling talent from across North Wales. There were the expected familiar faces at this level in the sport and a sprinkling of new faces, with some, definitely ones to watch for the future.
Andrew Armstrong( Cunliffe) started the games off in style with a 21-7 win against Adam Harris ( Beaumaris ). Andy Delooze ( Mold Rec. ) and Robin Bennett ( Cunliffe ), Stephen Vernon (New Brighton ) and Gareth P Hughes ( Craig y Don.) all had good even games to begin, but Robin and Gareth secured their places in the last 16 along with Mike Chamberlain (Rhos Park ), Ieuan Pugh (Esclusham ), Mike Gilpin ( Cunliffe ), Neale Charlton ( Fron Park ) and Geraint Roberts( Denbigh ) from the first half of the draw. The second half of the sheet saw Craig Richardson ( Min y Don ), Christian Pattinson (Conwy) Ian Dutton ( Esclusham ), Barry Harris (Beaumaris ), Matty Worden( Gresford Colliery ), Jay Salisbury( Cunliffe), Leighton Roberts( Esclusham ) and John Bailey( Llanrwst ) all winning their first games and joining them.
On an increasingly fast green, where possession of the block was certainly an advantage to judge pace and effort required, there was still a mix of bowlers from all areas of, Wales’ Crown Green world. The bowling standards kept getting higher and higher, and no particular game could be said to be better than another. Earning their places in the last eight were Mike Chamberlain, Robin Bennett, Gareth P Hughes, Neale Charlton, Craig Richardson, Barry Harris, Matty Worden and John Bailey.
From this quarter final stage, things really started to get interesting with Matty Worden, still in Wales’ Junior squad, facing John Bailey. He was not in the least flustered and they sparred well together before John’s experience pulled him through 21-11. At the semi final stage, Mike Chamberlain met Neale Charlton and Craig Richardson faced John Bailey.
Both Neale and Craig bowled exceptionally well, with Mike and John having to work hard to stay ahead. In the end, Mike Chamberlain secured a place in his first Welsh Senior Merit Final beating Neale 21-16, and John was looking to add to his three times win of the title after beating Craig 21-9.
The stage was set for a thrilling final, and it did not disappoint. There was nothing in it for the early part of the game with each player nudging ahead, only to be drawn across on a level score on more than one occasion. In the end, we were treated to classic John Bailey style and he went on to win that fourth title 21-17.